Looking Backward: Larkin Company, circa 1919
by/ Mar. 29, 2018 10am EST
The Larkin Company was one of the great mail order firms of North America. It 1885, Larkin Company executive Elbert Hubbard devised the “Larkin Idea” to sell directly “from factory to family” via mail order, the basis for the company’s exponential growth from 1890 to 1915. By 1910, the company’s business expanded far beyond soap—its original product—to dozens of household products, including perfumes, pharmaceuticals, coffee, tea, extracts, paints, varnishes, and so on. To handle the volume of Larkin Company shipments, the US Post Office opened a dedicated branch in the Larkin Terminal Warehouse, now the Larkin at Exchange Building, shown here in about 1919. The Larkin Company sent its last mail order catalog in 1962.